Hey Kids, Mom here. Since the school year is getting cranked up, it’s time for us to have a conversation about bullies. You don’t think you have any in your class? Great. And you’re bracing for another year of the same tough kids? I see that too. Yes, we do talk about this every year. But you’re all getting older now, and there’s even more I need to say.
There’s a lady who writes books for grown ups, her name is Brene Brown. (She’s really smart.) In one of her books, Mrs. Brene says something that your dad and I think is pretty cool. She says, “speak truth to the bull$hit.” Okay, yeah. Mom said a bad word, but stay focused. That word means lies. She’s saying we should always say things that are true, especially when we’re faced with words that aren’t. Bullies, mean kids, teasing, it’s all a bunch of untruths, here’s why.
Here’s what we know.
You aren’t fat, you aren’t slow, you are super smart. No, those glasses don’t make you look weird. (I wouldn’t have spent good money on them if they did!) You can cry when you scrape your knee, it doesn’t make you weak. No your life isn’t ruined just because you don’t play that cool, new video game. Here’s what I want you to remember: Just because someone says it, doesn’t make it true. In fact, it most often isn’t. Why do kids say hurtful things? Because they’re hurting. I don’t know why. I wish they weren’t. But happy kids don’t hurt others, not on purpose. To be fair, this isn’t just true about kids, happy humans don’t hurt others on purpose. I do wish we could fix whatever has them angry or hurting or sad, but our focus is you. You are beautiful, smart and strong. I need you to believe me, even when someone says otherwise.
While we’re speaking truth, there’s something else we should discuss. One day, you might be a bully. I hate to admit it, but I treated one of my friends terribly in the seventh grade. I still owe her so many apologies. Me, your ole mom was someone else’s bully. No one is immune from lashing out at others and there’s a good chance you’ll take a turn too.
We all take turns hurting, and we all hurt for different reasons. You’ll probably never really know why someone else is suffering. It could be something happening at their home. Maybe they miss someone they love. There’s a good chance they don’t feel like they belong, so they try to make others feel left out. None of this is ever okay. You can always talk to us about your pain. I would hate to think that we would ever be the cause of it, but if that happens, your teachers, your grandparents, your aunts and uncles and neighbors care about you, too. Talk to someone who’s older and wiser, let someone love you through it but never, ever take it out on others. Don’t ever punish someone else for the pain that you feel inside. Your momma raised you better than that.
It’s a fact.
No one is safe from either the giving or receiving side of bullying. The kids who are hurting others? They’re not that different from you. They eat breakfast, bush their teeth and tie their shoes. I bet they even have chores that they hate. Regardless of the similarities or differences, it’s never okay for anyone to mistreat you. I want you to stand up for yourself… always. I can’t do it, (even though I REALLY want to.) It has to come from you. But we’re always in your corner. Mean kids will come and mean kids will go, I want you to see them for who they are. They’re kids and they don’t have any power over you. I want you to know that it’s not really about you, it’s about them. You are good and kind and brave, and that, sweet one is truth.